Smells Like Teen Spirit
Really, it's more like Smells Like Teens. End of sentence. But, we are not here to discuss teens/children/husbands and their smelliness. That's a whole other topic.
Yesterday, stark. raving. mad. mommy. told us she is worried about the advent of the teenage years. She is still enjoying watching her kids play outside and hates the thought of all the innocence and cuteness disappearing. I decided I would offer some thoughts on navigating these waters. I have a 13 year old girl and a boy who will be 16 in May. While I am clearly not a parenting expert, I do play one in my head, so you should read closely and probably take notes.
To start with, I wasn't sure whether to give it to you straight or sugarcoat it. I don't want to be like one of those women, who when you're pregnant, tell you every horror story imaginable. That's just mean and once you're pregnant, there's not a whole lot you can do to avoid giving birth. But, I want to help you be prepared, so I will start by painting a picture for you.
|This is the "before" picture. The "after" picture has blood.|
But never fear, you and your teen can make it through. And remember, all of us are here because as teens we didn't do anything so stupid that we got ourselves killed nor did we antagonize our parents to such a degree that they took our lives. You just have to remember that you are the adult and the boss and you DO know what's best. Your teen will argue with you every step of the way, but if you stand firm it will got better for you.
Just remember the saying "Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig." Same goes for arguing with teens. Let them do the work. They are much less tired then we are. If they want an exception to a rule, let them list for you the reasons why instead of you explaining the reasons why not.
Make it clear that being safe, healthy and happy are your goals for them. In that order. That is not the order they think is correct, but it is. Your teen cannot be happy or healthy if she is not safe. That means your teen needs to know that you will not tolerate drinking or taking drugs. Explain what you mean by that. No drinking at all. Prescription drugs count. Make sure the consequences are clear and you follow through. Like criminals, teens respond best when punishment is certain, severe and swift (I remembered this from my criminal justice classes - finally came in handy).
It is very hard when every sentence you utter is answered sullenly as if talking to you is the most disdainful thing that has ever happened to your child. While you should call your teen on it if they are being outright rude, remember not to take it too personally. I know this is difficult when you spend the bulk of every day trying to make someone's life happy and easy and they spend the bulk of their day acting like you are annoying.
My final tip for today is that your teen still needs love and affection. They will shun it like it's homework or spinach, but they need it and want it. Everyone needs hugs and kisses. I personally am able to get my hugs and kisses in with my son at night when I go in to his room to say good night. He says he doesn't like it and won't hug me back, but he lets me get my love in and will even say "I love you too" sometimes before he can catch himself. That's how I know there's still hope that the delicious little boy I remember is still in there somewhere.
Oh, I forgot to mention that all these things work a lot better if you are not against drinking a lot or getting your doctor to give you a prescription for Xanax.